Meant as a term of endearment, calling Sean Dyche the ‘ginger Mourinho’ is belittling to a man that’s achieved the almost impossible with Burnley.
The Clarets’ supporters have never seen anything like it in generations.
European football at Turf Moor, top 10 in the Premier League and on a shoestring budget to boot.
Such miracle work is on a par with anything the Special One has done with many more millions to work with.
It was 1961 the last time this part of Lancashire could watch teams from the continent in official competition as opposed to friendlies and testimonials.
Ten years before Dyche was even born!
They now face Greek giants Olympiacos for a place in the Europa League proper which shows just how far the club have come under the Kettering-born 47-year-old’s stewardship.
In the six years since he’s been first team manager at the club, he’s taken them back to the top flight, breaking all sorts of records on their way to promotion, including the best start to a season since they were founded in 1882.
Perhaps more remarkably is that they’re back in Europe after getting relegated back to the Championship and then surviving by the skin of their teeth in 16th after another promotion to the Premier League. Dyche has certainly moulded his side into so much more than a team of ‘hoofers.’
Their ball-playing ability is as good as any team on their day, as many of the perceived ‘bigger’ clubs have found out to their cost.
Hard work always gets its reward in the end, and Dyche is fully aware that what his team lacks in genuine star quality, they more than make up for in team spirit, effort and desire.
His main issue now is whether he has a squad that has enough depth to deal with the demands of a Thursday night game somewhere in Europe followed by a tough Premier League battle.
The bread and butter for the club remains the English top flight and that shouldn’t be sacrificed for a single-season sojourn around the continent, however appealing that is at first.
Getting Joe Hart as their new No.1 is a real coup for the club and the keeper, like Aaron Lennon and Robbie Brady et al before him, have all joined because they believe in the project that their manager is creating.
Of course, with success comes expectation, and Dyche has continued to deliver on that score.
But there is a ceiling.
Sooner or later, the wall will be hit and it’s at that point that the manager will need his board, staff, players and the supporters to stand shoulder to shoulder with him.
Despite being the custodian of his role for just six seasons, he’s already one of the longer serving managers in the Premier League, which is scandalous.
And yet, if his paymasters can have the foresight to allow him to keep building, then a blip here and there should make no difference at all.
Manager of the year was never a bad shout but because he’s not ‘fashionable,’ that was never going to happen.
However, it’s time Dyche was recognised for the excellent motivator, communicator and man manager he is.
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